Game Seventy-Two: Cubs 3, Pirates 5
WP – Vance Worley (1-0) LP – Travis Wood (7-6) Save – Mark Melancon (11)
After rain delayed the start of the first pitch for two hours and one minute, Travis Wood had a rough night and lasted only 4 2/3 innings while the offense could not figure out Vance Worley and the Cubs dropped the second game of the series Saturday night to the Pirates.
The Pirates scored three of their five runs on a pair of home runs. A solo shot by Jordy Mercer off Travis Wood in the third and a two-run homer by Josh Harrison off Justin Grimm in the seventh. The Pirates scored four of their five runs on three two-out hits.
Travis Wood struggled with his command after retiring the first six batters he faced to start his outing. Wood started pitching from behind in the count in the third inning after serving up a solo homer to Jordy Mercer. Wood labored through a 32-pitch fourth inning but was able to keep the Pirates off the board. After Anthony Rizzo gave Wood a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth, Wood gave up two runs in the top of the fifth and was lifted before he could record three outs.
Travis Wood gave up three runs on four hits with three walks and four strikeouts. Wood threw 99 pitches, 57 for strikes, in 4 2/3 innings.
Brian Schlitter recorded the last out in the fifth.
After facing the minimum in the sixth, Justin Grimm gave up a two-run homer to Josh Harrison in the seventh after Gregory Polanco reached on an infield single with two outs. Polanco smoked a 1-0 pitch back up the middle. Starlin Castro made an excellent stop, but took too long once he got to his feet to throw to first. Polanco was called out on a bang-bang play. Clint Hurdle asked for the play to be reviewed, the call on the field was overturned and Harrison lifted Grimm’s second pitch out to right.
Carlos Villanueva pitched two scoreless innings and gave the offense a chance at a comeback.
Vance Worley once again mesmerized the Cubs and picked up his first win of the season. Worley retired the Cubs in order the first time through the lineup while the offense allowed Worley to throw only 33 pitches, 26 for strikes, over the first three innings. The Cubs managed three runs on five hits with a walk in 6 2/3 innings off Worley. The offense did not make Vance Worley work and could not string together any hits against the veteran right hander, or the Pirates pen.
Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) launched his 15th longball of the season in the fourth with Chris Coghlan (1-for-4 with a run scored) on board that gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead. Eli Whiteside (1-for-3 with a double and a RBI) just missed a two-run home run in the seventh and had to settle for a double that plated Darwin Barney (1-for-3 with a double and a run scored) with the Cubs’ third and final run.
With Saturday’s loss, the Cubs dropped back to 10 games under .500 with a 31-41 record.
Travis Wood and Vance Worley did not allow a baserunner over the first two innings. Travis Wood needed 28 pitches, 17 for strikes, to complete two innings.
Jordy Mercer led off the third with a booming homer to left. The light-hitting Mercer keeps squaring up Cubs pitching. Mercer’s second longball in two games gave the Pirates a 1-0 lead in the third. Clint Barmes flied out to deep left center and Worley struck out swinging. Wood struck out Gregory Polanco swinging to end the inning … 43 pitches for Wood after three, 29 for strikes.
The Cubs did nothing against Worley in the third.
And after three innings, the Cubs trailed 1-0.
Travis Wood worked his way in and out of trouble in the fourth. Wood pitched from behind in the count the entire inning and he ran up his pitch count. Harrison grounded out to short on a 3-2 pitch for the first out. Wood walked Andrew McCutchen (3-2 pitch). Russell Martin flied out to right (3-2 pitch). McCutchen swiped second with Jose Tabata at the plate. Wood walked Tabata and put two on with two down for Gaby Sanchez. Sanchez flied out to deep left on a 2-2 pitch to end the inning.
It took Travis Wood 32 pitches to record three outs in the fourth … 75 pitches for Wood after four innings, 45 for strikes.
Chris Coghlan led off the fourth and singled to right, the Cubs first hit of the game. Ruggiano flied out to right. Anthony Rizzo stepped in and pulled a 1-1 into the bleachers in right. Rizzo’s 15th longball of the season gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead. Starlin Castro walked before Valbuena flied out to left and Lake flied out to right to end the inning.
The Cubs led 2-1 after four innings.
Travis Wood took the hill for the fifth inning with a one-run lead that quickly disappeared. Jordy Mercer singled to left. Clint Barmes flied out to right on a 3-2 pitch for the first out. Vance Worley bunted Mercer to second. Wood walked Polanco on a 3-2 pitch. Josh Harrison stepped in with two on and two down and ripped Wood’s first pitch back up the middle and into center. Mercer scored and tied the game at two. Andrew McCutchen laced a 3-1 pitch into center. Polanco scored, Harrison went to third and the Pirates took a 3-2 lead. With runners on the corners and two down, Rick Renteria made the slow walk and went to his pen for Brian Schlitter. Russell Martin grounded to third to end the inning.
The Cubs were not able to cash in a leadoff double by Darwin Barney in the fifth … and after five innings, the Cubs trailed 3-2.
Justin Grimm faced the minimum in the sixth and stayed in for the seventh. Grimm retired Barmes (flyout to deep right center) and Worley (grounder to second) for the first two outs. Gregory Polanco smoked a 1-0 pitch back up the middle, on the left side of the second base bag. Starlin Castro made an excellent stop, but took too long to make a throw to first once he got to his feet. Rizzo scooped the low throw and Polanco was called out. Clint Hurdle challenged the call, it was overturned and the extra second (or two) Castro took, cost the Cubs a pair of runs. Josh Harrison lifted a 0-1 slider out to right. The wind caught the ball and carried it into the first row of the bleachers. Harrison circled the bases and celebrated his wind-blown home run … 5-2 Pirates. McCutchen grounded out to third to end the inning.
The Cubs got one of the runs back in the home half. After Valbuena popped out to center, Junior Lake collected the Cubs’ fourth hit, a single to left. Darwin Barney hit a roller toward second that Barmes did not field cleanly. Barmes recovered near the bag and tagged out Lake for the second out. Barney took over at first. Eli Whiteside just missed a two-run homer. Whiteside pulled a 1-0 pitch from Worley to deep left center. The ball appeared to hit off the bottom of the basket. Barney hustled around the bases and slid in safe with the Cubs’ third run. Clint Hurdle went to his pen for Jared Hughes. And pinch-hitter Nate Schierholtz popped up his first pitch into right to end the inning.
After seven innings, the Pirates led 5-3.
And that is the way the game ended … Carlos Villanueva kept the Bucs off the board in the eighth and ninth innings, but the Cubs offense could not put together anything against the Pirates’ pen.
Jason Hammel faces Brandon Cumpton in the finale of the three-game series with the Pirates on Sunday afternoon (1:20pm CDT).